Website Helps Older Florida Job Seekers

The following article appeared in the September/October, 2009 Elder Update, a publication of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.

June Noel
Department of Elder Affairs

Whether they’re thinking of volunteering or looking for paid employment, older Floridians now have a new tool to help them in their search. The Silver Edition website is Florida’s new easy-to-use source of help for persons age 50 and over who are looking for a job or volunteer opportunities. The idea behind Silver Edition is to make it easier for older workers and older worker-friendly employers to find each other. The website was created to provide useful information to older, retirement-age job seekers who wish to remain in – or return to – the workforce. Seniors can go to the website and create a user profile. They can then search available jobs offered by “older worker friendly” businesses and organizations. Once a prospective job is identified, the user can create a resume and apply for the position online. For older Floridians more interested in volunteering, the Silver Edition website lists available volunteer opportunities in each community. Silver Edition users will be able to enter their zip code and then select the “volunteer jobs” option.

Employers are also using the new Silver Edition website to attract older workers. These employers understand that today’s labor force is a multi-generational reality and they recognize the tremendous benefits of hiring and retaining older workers. Experience has shown that older workers are often more flexible in work scheduling, tend to be well educated and loyal, are good at mentoring younger workers, and are extremely conscientious. With fewer young people to supplement Florida’s workforce, employers need to attract older workers.

There are many reasons retirees and potential retirees want to continue working or return to the workforce. Americans are living longer and staying healthier, so retirement by the traditional age of 65 means a much longer period of retirement. Many seniors can’t afford to live on their retirement nest egg for such an extended period, and others simply don’t want to be idle for that long – they don’t want to completely quit working, but instead are looking for a more flexible work situation as a “bridge” to full retirement. In addition, work and volunteering are reliable ways to remain engaged in the community. Whether it is paid or volunteer, work helps older Floridians avoid isolation and decline for as long as possible. Engaged persons are healthier both physically and mentally. And being involved, active and healthy in turn avoids the financial strain of costly long-term care support. The website was developed by a team of Florida leaders working as the Silver Edition Task Group. The group is developing other initiatives to assist both businesses and organizations. The Silver Edition website is built on the state’s workforce job matching site, Employ Florida Marketplace, which is available for all working-age persons.